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New Insights Into Why People Leave the Church After High School/College #thinkorange

Most people who have served in a children’s ministry or student ministry context have heard various statistics about how many students who grow up in church end up leaving the church after they graduate high school. 70%-%80 is generally the estimate you hear, and my personal experience growing up church backed up those numbers as about 4 out of 5 students I grew up with were not involved after we graduated.

An extensive research endeavor by the Barna Group revealed some new insights into this huge issue facing the Church. The details are found in a new book called You Lost Me. Here are some highlights from the full post on their site:

  • 1 out of 9 (11%) lose faith in Christianity
  • 4 out of 10 (40%) leave the Church but still call themselves Christian
  • 2 out of 10 (20%) disconnect from Church and express frustration about “church culture” and disconnects with society
  • 3 out of 10 (30%) stay involved church

Yes, that’s 101%, because the “out of 10” references were probably rounded. Here are the myths they believe exist, that aren’t true from their research:

  • Most people lose their faith when they leave high school.
  • Dropping out of church is just a natural part of young adults’ maturation.
  • College experiences are the key factor that cause people to drop out.
  • This generation of young Christians is increasingly “biblically illiterate.”
  • Young people will come back to church like they always do.

Looks like the 70% number is accurate if we’re looking at church involvement.

What do you think? How can we help change that trend?